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Gay Liberation in Canada:
A Socialist Perspective

The Discussion at the August 1976 Plenum

During the 1976 membership discussion on gay liberation, four LSA/LSO members who had criticisms of the Political Committee’s original draft statement on gay liberation submitted a series of eight amendments to strengthen the statement.

Since none of the four were members of the Central Committee, it asked them to designate two comrades to participate in the plenum discussion, and to present a report to the plenum explaining their proposals.

John Riddell reported for the Political Committee, and Stuart Russell reported on the proposed amendments. Equal time was allocated for both reports and both summaries.

Riddell’s report proposed that some of the points made in the amendments be included in the statement. On other points, however, there were still disagreements.

The Central Committee therefore voted on two motions proposed by Riddell and Russell.

Proposed Amendments to the
Political Committee Statement on Gay Liberation

by Stuart Russell, Thérèse Faubert, Duncan McLean, Montreal; Chris Bearchell, Toronto Branch

We feel the Political Statement is a step forward for the Trotskyist movement’s approach to the gay liberation struggle.

However, in our opinion the following concepts should be added to the Statement in order to clarify and strengthen the positions and approach of our movement to gay liberation.


  1. The gay liberation movement is at present focused around the concrete struggles for democratic rights. Its final goals will only be realized with the elimination of sexism and all forms of sexual oppression, including the forced imposition of the exclusive heterosexual norm, which requires the repression of homosexuality.
  2. The nuclear family system is the fundamental bulwark of gay oppression.
  3. Full gay liberation cannot be granted under capitalism. It will take a socialist revolution to lay the groundwork to eliminate this form of oppression.
  4. While it does not vote on questions of culture, science, or sexuality, the League does utilize bodies of knowledge on these questions to advance the struggle for socialism.
  5. An authoritatively established Marxist point of view on the question of the nature of sexuality does not yet exist. However, a sufficient body of scientific knowledge has been established which we can point to and draw some basic conclusions.
  6. The basic materialist view of homosexuality is clear. Homosexuality is not a "perverted," "sick," "sinful," "unnatural," or "deviant" form of behavior. It is a significant and legitimate component of human sexuality.
  7. We express our solidarity with the growth of gay pride and with its contemporary and popular expression embraced in the affirmative slogan "Gay is Good!"
  8. We should intervene in the gay movement promoting the civil liberties/mass action perspective, and presenting our revolutionary socialist views, including participating actively in discussions relating to the nature and roots of gay oppression from a Marxist point of view and other theoretical questions elaborated on at the beginning of the Statement.

Excerpt from LSA/LSO plenum minutes,
July 31-August 2, 1976.

Gay Liberation Report

Riddell reported for the Political Committee

Russell reported on Proposed Revision of Political Committee Statement on Gay Liberation

Summary: Russell
Summary: Riddell

Motion by Presiding Committee on behalf of Russell to approve the proposed amendments to the Political Committee statement on gay liberation and the general line of the report by Russell

Regular members: 0 for, 20 against, 0 abstentions
Consultative: 0 for, 8 against, 0 abstentions

Motion to approve the general line of the Political Committee Statement on Gay Liberation and the report by Riddell

Regular members: 20 for, 0 against, 0 abstentions
Consultative: 8 for, 0 against, 0 abstentions

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